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What's in Your Back-to-School Toolkit?

By Diana Fingal
August 2, 2022
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This is the time of year when kids gather supplies and cram their backpacks with cool new stuff for school. But it seems unfair that students should have all the fun. Teachers need cool new stuff too!

So this year we’re offering all educators some shiny ideas for the new school year. The links below might not have that new-crayon smell, but they are sure to delight any educator looking for engaging ideas and tech-related strategies to start the school year. 

1. Explore These Virtual Worlds for Learning

Start the year by exploring virtual worlds like Minecraft, OpenSim and Quest Atlantis. They aren’t just fun, they also provide unique and engaging learning environments that offer unparalleled opportunities for student collaboration and creativity!

2.  Gamify Your Classroom!

Kids love to play video games but they also develop essential skills like collaborative problem solving while building perseverance. Discover five ways to gamify your classroom to boost engagement, collaboration and learning.

3.  Ask These Questions Before Choosing a New Edtech Tool

In order to find effective tools for solving complex teaching problems, educators need information they can trust. The EdSurge Product Index is a free research tool that allows technology seekers to easily search and compare hundreds of edtech product listings.

4. Explore the Benefits of an Active Professional Learning Community

If you aren’t part of a professional learning community, establishing one in your school or district is a sure-fire way to share ideas to enhance your teaching practice and create a learning environment where all students can reach their full potential. 

5. Turn Your Classroom Into a Personalized Learning Environment

Today’s technology makes personalized learning an attainable goal. Here are five things to consider as you make the transition from a traditional classroom to a personalized learning environment.

Edtech Coaching Primer

6.  Help Students Engage Online With Empathy

Being a good digital citizen means interacting with each other respectfully online. But can civility be taught? Yes it can! Author Kristen Mattson, Ed.D,  shares a variety of strategies that help students be empathetic and engaged.

7.  30 Tools for Diverse Learners

There is no right way to learn. That’s why the Universal Design for Learning framework is a great tool to improve and optimize teaching and learning for all people based on scientific insights into how humans learn. Discover tech tools that offer a variety of ways for all students to engage, receive information and express their learning.

8.  Use Students’ Smartphones for Learning

The days when cell phones were nothing more than classroom distractions are over. Help your students turn the smartphones in their pockets into high-powered learning machines.

9.  These 5 Skills Prepare Students for Future Jobs

Preparing students for future careers requires teachers to think beyond hard skills and cultivate the underlying “soft” skills that will help them better adapt to a changing work environment.

10. Tips for Better Blended Learning

If the pandemic taught us anything it's that you can't take what you do in person and replicate it online. There is a better way. Here are six tips for designing learning for an online, in-person or blended classroom experience. 


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Diana Fingal is director of editorial content at ISTE.